A very interesting time has been experienced at Smailholm in the present month. Robert Steel, Esq., a gentleman from Peeblesshire, who has been a good deal engaged in this work in various parts of the land, was invited here. The interest was very great, the large schoolroom where the meetings were generally held, was too small for the crowds that at last assembled, and for more room they were compelled to meet in a large granary, as wide as a church. There were no seats and the people had to stand, yet that proved no obstacle for their assembling, even although many of them had several miles to walk. At some of these meetings tears flowed in abundance from the beginning to the close; sometimes the weeping was so loud it was with difficulty that the speaker could be heard, and the singing of hymns was resorted to soothe the feelings of the people. On his way home one evening, crowds were in the distance singing a simple hymn. They were standing still, and one poor soul he noticed in their midst in intense agony of soul, praying, "Oh Jesus, Oh Jesus, have mercy on me! Oh Jesus come quickly!" This was repeated over and over again. For a few minutes Mr S. lifted up his voice and heart in prayer. A hymn was again sung, and when about to part, a wailing voice was heard crying, "Oh! pray again." And again they prayed in the dark and cloudy night. It has been a sweet and precious visit this to Smailholm and will be remembered by the simple but kind-hearted people.
Mr Stodart, one of Dr Bonar's missionaries, has been labouring at Stitchell with great success. It is another hamlet in Berwickshire, where the Lord is at present giving tokens of his presence in the awakening of the careless.
The whole district round Kelso seems more or less awakened. A resolute effort has been made there by the Rev Dr Bonar and his excellent missionaries, Messrs Stodart and Murray, and now the Rev Donald Grant who has lately joined them. This effort has been crowned with success. The Lord has graciously smiled upon it and there at abundant tokens of a blessing. Would that there was the same determined effort made all over the land. Greater blessings might be experienced than we
have yet seen in these late years.
"The Revival," January 22nd, 1863.
From Melrose, Mr Phillips went to Whitrig Bog and Smailholm.
Wonderful meetings were held there and numbers were awakened to see the awful condition of their souls as unconverted and “condemned already.“ One night, a young woman was weeping bitterly. A man who was present, felt great compassion for her, seeing her in that condition and though unconverted himself, he asked her very kindly, why she wept. Her reply was, “My sins!” The words filled him with amazement, and from that moment he was in great alarm at his own and concern and indifference. What fears and agonies he passed through in these hours, when his soul awakened to a consciousness of its own sad state, no one can tell. These are only known to himself and God; but his peace is broken and now has he got this I was after enduring rest. To rest in Christ, he was afterwards enabled and now is among those who are professing to have passed from darkness to light. He told Mr Steel that before that night he never thought of himself being a sinner.
Rev William, Paterson of Carrubbers Close Mission, also paid a visit to Smailholm and his meetings were quite remarkable. At first, he only intended staying there till Friday, so great was the interest awakened, and so great was the desire to hear the word, that he was induced to extend his visit over Sabbath. Wet day or dry day was all the same there; neither storm, nor tempest, could hinder these simple, but earnest and affectionate people from coming to the meetings in the dark, over bad roads, and after heavy days' work. Some of them came four others five miles, having the same distance to walk back again.
He was one night in a house, close upon the meeting place, speaking to the anxious, where he was compelled to meet them for the comfort of quiet conversation with them alone, as so many remained in the larger place. Among others, he spoke to one young woman. Afterwards she retired; but, when all had gone, she returned, and said, “Mr Patterson, do you remember the last night you spoke at -–, three months ago? When you were going out, you touched my shoulder and said, “Have you given your heart to Jesus yet?“ I answered, “No;“ and since that, I have never had a moment's peace.“ She seemed, however, to have given a heart to Jesus that night.
"The Revival," February 19th, 1863.